Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Tripping Down Memory Lane.....



Hi, all!

Welcome to something a little bit different today - I am a participant in the Holiday Tales & Traditions blog hop hosted by the fabulous Bernie over at Needle & Foot!  Bernie decided we all needed a bit more Christmas cheer in this weird year of 2020, and asked several of us bloggers to share some holiday memories with you all.  Sounds like fun, right?  Here's a list of the other bloggers who are participating...

Sandra of MMM! Quilts
Leanne of Devoted Quilter
Kathleen of Kathleen McMusing
Bernie of Needle and Foot

So grab a cuppa, snuggle up in a comfortable chair and cruise down memory lane with us as we share our Christmas memories....

*&*&*&*&*&*&*


This beautiful old home is the focus of many fun Christmas memories for me.  It belonged to my great-grandmother, who lived to be very nearly 100 years old, and actually welcomed my husband into the family, telling him she was glad he was a Grady now!  Every year the entire family would convene here at Christmas - and what a family it was!  She had six children, most of whom lived very nearby, and they all had children, who also had children, so on Christmas morning her home was overrun with cousins!  

But before we went to Gran's house on Christmas, we would have Christmas at my grandmother's house.  My grandmother instilled a love of handmade gifts in me from an early age.  She would always make us matching nightgowns and bathrobes for Christmas, and it was tradition that we would open them up on Christmas Eve as we prepared for bed.


That's me in the background, with my show-off little sister hamming it up for the camera.  I was probably about 7 here, as I recognize those cat-eyed glasses!  Then we would troop upstairs to bed, with the traditional "butts going up to bed" picture...


....which I can prove was traditional because here's one from a later year!  I swear, I don't think my grandmother ever threw a picture away, because there were tons of these in the boxes in my attic.


Another tradition that I wasn't as fond of was the bedroom slippers that my grandfather would always get us as his part of the annual ritual.  They had sock uppers and leather bottoms and I always felt like they made my long feet look even longer. He used to tease me about my height and feet, singing, "I've got a gal, she's six foot tall, she sets in the kitchen with her feet in the hall!"  But as you can see from this picture, I adored my granddad (that's me on the left) and even when he annoyed me, he could do no wrong.  I also found tons of pictures just like this one, with both of us draped all over Granddaddy.  He must have been a very patient man!


One of my favorite Christmas memories was Don, the Borden milkman, delivering eggnog.  I don't know if it is still available, but I remember Borden eggnog being a beautiful yellow shade, creamy and heavily flavored and specked with nutmeg.  It's still my hands-down favorite eggnog!  Don delivered that eggnog every year that I can remember and was definitely a holiday fixture.


And here's a funny story about eggnog.  Each year as the young men in our family got older, they would reach an age when there would be a drinking straw in their stocking.  Why?  Because when we would go over to Gran's house for the big family celebration, she would have a huge punch bowl of eggnog.  Now, I helped my great-aunt make the eggnog one year. My job was to read the recipe to her so she wouldn't miss anything.  When I got to the part for the liquor, I handed her the cup measure.  She refused it, and just poured straight from the bottle into the mixture.  And poured.... and poured.... and poured.  Now that was pretty potent eggnog!  But as the day would go on, the eggnog would tend to separate, with the liquor going to the bottom of the punchbowl.  The purpose of the straw?  To reach the liquor quicker!  Yes, my family is a bunch of heathens, but it certainly was a unique rite of passage!


And I just had to laugh when I saw this picture (among many others very similar in one detail).  That's the five of us first cousins - from top to bottom, me, my sister Cathy, my cousins Leslie, Jennifer, and Kristen.  My grandmother was the photographer of the family, but could seldom take a picture where she didn't cut off someone's head!  As the tallest of the bunch, it was usually me.  Oh well, small loss there - but it does make me laugh!

*&*&*&*&*&*&*

We also had a favorite holiday dessert that my grandmother would make every year.  It does have alcohol in it, but according to the recipe, you are supposed to make it a couple of days ahead and leave it in the fridge so the alcohol can evaporate off, leaving just the flavor (it never lasted that long around our house!)  I don't have a picture - haven't had it in a long time - but I remember how she made it.  Bake up a yellow cake mix, then crumble the cake.  Chop up some pecans, and mix them in with the cake crumbles.  Keep aside a few whole pecan pieces to decorate the top of the cake.  Next make whipped cream - a lot of it - with applejack brandy mixed in.  Now put down a layer of the cake mixture, top with the whipped cream, and repeat for several layers until you've used up all the cake mixture.  Finish with a layer of whipped cream and decorate with the whole pecans.  She called this Tipsy Cake and it was SO good!  I remember she used to make it in a rectangular clear Pyrex casserole dish, but it's also beautiful in a trifle bowl.

*&*&*&*&*&*&*

I hope you've enjoyed this little walk down memory lane - I know I have!  It was so much fun looking through old pictures and remembering fun times.  I hope you'll visit the other participants in the hop and enjoy their memories too!

Merry Christmas!!!

Hugs!

Sarah

25 comments:

  1. I delivered another quilt to the Adventist Health Hospital here in Tehachapi this past week and have two more quilts that I'm finishing up. One will go to the Family Life Center and the second one will go to the hospital.

    ReplyDelete
  2. well that was fun reading of your family traditions - nothing wrong with a bit of alcohol in the cake or eggnog :) I remember the same.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sarah it is always a joy to hear how others celebrated their holidays. I have similar memories, heads cut off of picture. Thanks for sharing your memories. Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and healthy 2021.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What fun memories, thank you for sharing! Love the 'butts going up stairs' photos, what a hilarious tradition!

    ReplyDelete
  5. So fun reading everyone's stories from Bernie's blog hop. I love your "butts up the stairs" and straws for the bottom of the eggnog! Memories to treasure. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love the straw, separated eggnog in the punchbowl recipe. If only my grandfather's side of the family could have heard about that. Not that my grandmother would have approved. But she would have tolerated the custom. They had many traditions of their own. Good memories.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What fun to see all the photos; your grandmother documented those Christmas memories well! The Tipsy cake reminds me of the rum cake I just had made for my birthday (a bit too boozy for me, haha). Some fun memories in this post, Sarah - thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh my gosh Sarah, this is heartwarming. I love holiday stories so much and this was just the ticket. How wonderful of your grandma to make matching nightgowns and the pictures of you and your sister, butts going up the stairs - priceless. I would take those older photos and revel in them. A treasure trove, for sure.
    Do milk men even exist anymore? We had one when I was very little. How cute to take a picture celebrating the eggnog! Love this post! Thanks for joining in on the hop.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a wonderful childhood! Thanks for sharing your trip down memory lane!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Heathens, lol, that made me laugh. Everything in moderation, right? And your family sounds a fair bit like my dad's side. What an incredible, jaw-dropping home of your great-grandmother's! I can just imagine the excitement and pandemonium of all the cousins. There were eleven of us at my grandmother's for the New Year's Day dinners and it was always fun.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What great stories! I think I might like some of that eggnog! The "stairstep" picture of you and your cousins brought back so many memories, because my parents always took a picture of all of us kids arranged just the same way. I hated it when I was a kid, but now they are really sweet pictures. Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  12. For a time my dad used to be a delivery milkman. I like to think he was appreciated by his customers in a similar way! We also got to open one present on Christmas Eve - always pajamas! It sure makes for good Christmas photos the next day, lol. Your memories are filled with family and good times!

    ReplyDelete
  13. You Gradys must have had some FUN holidays!! LOL!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Sarah! I love looking at old photos just like the one your grandmother used to take. It's funny that she cut off your head since it was so important to get the carpeting in the photo! That's just one of the best thing about old photos. Such sweet memories and I adore the last one where the cousins are stacked by size. I think we need to recreate that ourselves this year. {{Hugs}} and Merry Christmas to you and your family. ~smile~ Roseanne

    ReplyDelete
  15. Love your stories and the pictures. The eggnog story had me laughing. Such lovely memories.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Borden milkman (we had one, too), much-loved grandfather (we had one, too), butts up the stairs (that's one I managed to miss - too funny though), and the stair step photo (we took them of our two boys with my sister's three boys for years until her middle one became the tallest so age order didn't line up well any longer). GREAT post - Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wonderful memories, Sarah! Thanks for sharing. I can relate so well. I was, and still am, the tallest of my brothers and sisters and cousins still living. I think my youngest brother would have been at least as tall as me, if not over 6' and one cousin was about 6'3". I surely miss them, especially around the holidays. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Your Gran sounds like a hoot and a half! :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love the butts going up to bed pictures, lol! That's hilarious! I thoroughly enjoyed all of your stories :) Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
  20. So much fun! I love the gorgeous home and the gathering of so many cousins. The stories of the recipes and traditions are priceless. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love the eggnog story. LOL Thanks for sharing your memories.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you for sharing such special memories, Your great-grandmother's old house looks fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Loved reading your family memories. Made me think of those of my own family. :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Love this post, Sarah! What great, fun memories! Thanks for sharing your stories and pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Great to read traditions from other cultures. Such lovely memories which were a pleasant lockdown diversion for me in rainy Liverpool, England.
    As the Beatles sang, "All you need is love"!

    ReplyDelete

Comments make me smile!! If you want a PDF of a pattern, PLEASE leave your email address in your comment, or email me directly at salliesue57 (at) gmail (dot) com!